You always fed strays and bent down to talk to the dogs you met on the street, looking straight into their eyes as if they were old friends. (Maybe they are, you said. From another life.) You liked to go to the pound and look at them. You tried to send them messages of comfort. I couldn't go because I started crying the one time I tried. All those eyes and the barks like sobs.
Francesca Lia Block
MANY DOGS RUN WILD IN THE CITY. SOME ARE ABANDONED BY THEIR OWNERS AND OTHERS ARE BORN TO LOST DOGS. STRAYS HAVE A LIMITED LIFE EXPECTANCY EVEN WHEN THEY BAND TOGETHER IN PACKS. THEY ARE PREY TO DISEASE, PARASITES, WEATHER AND AUTOMOBILES. THEY TEND TO BE FRIGHTENED AND VICIOUS. THEY ARE UNABLE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES OR ANYONE ELSE.
it is perfectly possible to converse with any cat, from prize-winning Siamese to alley tabby. Humans who are slow learners may start with a highly articulate Siamese and progress in time to the more sensitive and difficult business of talking to scared strays. Other people, naturally gifted, can talk to any cat right away.
Although we give lip service to the notion of freedom, we know the government is no longer the servant of the people but, at last has become the people's master. We have stood by like timid sheep while the wolf killed - first the weak, then the strays, then those on the outer edges of the flock, until at last the entire flock belonged to the wolf.
I don't eat animals. I rescue strays and take injured pigeons to the wildlife rehab. I carry spiders and wasps outside in a cup covered with a 3x5 card. It would only follow that I'd take pause when contemplating the abrupt and apparently brutal ending of a tiny human being's life, or even a potential human being's life.
Men do not know the natural infirmity of their mind: it does nothing but ferret and quest, and keeps incessantly whirling around, building up and becoming entangled in its own work, like silkworms, and is suffocated in it. A mouse in a pitch barrel...thinks it notices from a distance some sort of glimmer of imaginary light and truth; but while running toward it, it is crossed by so many difficulties and obstacles, and diverted by so many new quests, that it strays from the road, bewildered.
Michel de Montaigne
One walks along a street and strays unknowingly from one's path; one then looks up and suddenly for those familiar landmarks of orientation, and, seeing none, one feels lost. Panic drapes the look of the world in a strangeness, and the more one stares blankly at the world, the stranger it looks, the more hideously frightening it seems. There is then born in one a wild, hot wish to project out upon the alien world the world that one is seeking. This wish is a hunger for power, to be in command of one's self.
We know great Nature's pow'r, Mother of things, whose vast unbounded sway From the deep centre all around extends Wide to the flaming barriers of the world. We feel her power; we strive not to repress (Vainly repress'd, or to deformity) Her lawful growth: ours be the task alone To check her rude excrescencies, to prune Her wanton overgrowth, and where she strays In uncouth shapes, to lead her gently back, With prudent hand, to form and better use.
My approach to photograph is kept simple, almost routine. All work, good and bad, is documented. I use standard film, a standard lens and no filters. Each work grows, strays, decays-integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its height, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expresses in the image. Process and decay are implicit.
In Rome, I really wanted an Audrey Hepburn Roman Holiday experience, but the Trevi Fountain was crowded, there was a McDonald's at the base of the Spanish Steps, and the ruins smelled like cat pee because of all the strays. The same thing happened in Prague, where I'd been yearning for some of the bohemianism of The Unbearable Lightness of Being. But no, there were no fabulous artists, no guys who looked remotely like a young Daniel Day-Lewis. I saw this one mysterious-looking guy reading Sartre in a cafe, but then his cell phone rang and he started talking in aloud Texan twang.
He finds he cannot think of the dying men at all. Into his mind instead strays the picture of More on the scaffold, seen through the veil of rain: his body, already dead, folding back neatly from the impact of the axe. The cardinal when he fell had no persecutor more relentless than Thomas More. Yet, he thinks, I did not hate him. I exercised my skills to the utmost to persuade him to reconcile with the king. And I thought I would win him, I really thought I would, for he was tenacious of the world, tenacious of his person, and had a good deal to live for. In the end he was his own murderer. He wrote and wrote and he talked and talked, then suddenly at a stroke he cancelled himself. If ever a man came close to beheading himself, Thomas More was that man.
In a situation of manipulation, the Left is almost always tempted by a 'quick return to power, ' forgets the necessity of joining with the oppressed to forge an organization, and strays into an impossible 'dialogue' with the dominant elites. It ends by being manipulated by these elites, and not infrequently itself falls in an elitist game, which it calls 'realism.' Manipulation, like the conquest whose objectives it serves, attempts to anesthetize the people so they will not think. For if the people join to their presence in the historical process critical thinking about that process, the threat of their emergence materializes in revolution... One of the methods of manipulation is to inoculate individuals with the bourgeois appetite for personal success. This manipulation is sometimes carried out directly by the elites and sometimes indirectly, through populist leaders.
What', said he, ' makes the difference between man and all the rest of the animal creation? Every beast that strays beside me has the same corporeal necessities with myself; he is hungry and crops the grass, he is thirsty and drinks the stream, his thirst and hunger are appeased, he is satisfied and sleeps; he rises again and is hungry, he is again fed and is at rest. I am hungry and thirsty like him, but when thirst and hunger cease I am not at rest; I am, like him, pained with want, but am not, like him, satisfied with fullness. The intermediate hours are tedious and gloomy; I long again to be hungry that I may again quicken my attention. The birds peck the berries or the corn, and fly away to the groves where they sit in seeming happiness on the branches, and waste their lives in tuning one unvaried series of sounds. I likewise can call the lutanist and the singer, but the sounds that pleased me yesterday weary me today, and will grow yet more wearisome tomorrow. I can discover within me no power of perception which is not glutted with its proper pleasure, yet I do not feel myself delighted. Man has surely some latent sense for which this place affords no gratification, or he has some desires distinct from sense which must be satisfied before he can be happy.
Imagine a land where people are afraid of dragons. It is a reasonable fear: dragons possess a number of qualities that make being afraid of them a very commendable response. Things like their terrible size, their ability to spout fire, or to crack boulders into splinters with their massive talons. In fact, the only terrifying quality that dragons do not possess is that of existence. Now, the people of this land know about dragons because their leaders have warned them about them. They tell stories about cruel dragons with razor teeth and fiery breath. They recount legends of dragons hunting by night on silent wings. In short, the leaders make sure that the people believe in all the qualities of dragons, including that key quality of existence. And then they control the people - when they need to - with their fear of dragons. The people pay a dragon-slaying tax ... everyone stays indoors after dark to avoid being snatched by swooping claws ... and nobody ever strays out of bounds for fear of being eaten well and truly up. Perhaps somebody will wonder if dragons aren't, after all, fictitious because - despite their size - nobody seems to have actually seen one. And so it is necessary from time to time to provide evidence: a burnt tree or two, a splintered rock, the mysterious absence of a villager. The population is controlled by the dragons in its collective mind. It's contrived superstition, and it is possible because the people do not know enough about the way the world works to know that dragons do not exist.
Hamlet's Cat's Soliloquy "To go outside, and there perchance to stay Or to remain within: that is the question: Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather That Nature rains on those who roam abroad, Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet, And so by dozing melt the solid hours That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time And stall the dinner bell. To sit, to stare Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state A wish to venture forth without delay, Then when the portal's opened up, to stand As if transfixed by doubt. To prowl; to sleep; To choose not knowing when we may once more Our readmittance gain: aye, there's the hairball; For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob, Or work a lock or slip a window-catch, And going out and coming in were made As simple as the breaking of a bowl, What cat would bear the houselhold's petty plagues, The cook's well-practiced kicks, the butler's broom, The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears, The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks That fur is heir to, when, of his own will, He might his exodus or entrance make With a mere mitten? Who would spaniels fear, Or strays trespassing from a neighbor's yard, But that the dread of our unheeded cries And scraches at a barricaded door No claw can open up, dispels our nerve And makes us rather bear our humans' faults Than run away to unguessed miseries? Thus caution doth make house cats of us all; And thus the bristling hair of resolution Is softened up with the pale brush of thought, And since our choices hinge on weighty things, We pause upon the threshold of decision.
Henry N. Beard